A large population of people across the globe is still living in dark. If only they knew that human urine can be used as a fuel to generate power, they would have brought in some light in their lives.
No, we ain’t kidding. A study that recently appeared in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics reveals that researchers from Bristol BioEnergy Centre at the University of the West of England have invented urine-powered socks that can send message in case of an emergency. This self-sufficient wireless transmitter uses microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology to generate electricity.
In 2014, researchers at Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the UK had proved that they could power a mobile phone with human urine.
Professor Loannis Leropoulos from Bristol BioEnergy Centre at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) said, “Having already powered a mobile phone with MFCs using urine as fuel, we wanted to see if we could replicate this success in wearable technology. We also wanted the system to be entirely self-sufficient, running only on human power — using urine as fuel and the action of the foot as the pump.”
How it works? Well, this pair of socks is embedded with miniaturized microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and fuelled with urine pumped by the wearer’s footsteps powered a wireless transmitter to send a signal to a personal computer.
Soft MFCs embedded within a pair of socks was supplied with fresh urine, circulated by the human operator walking. Normally, continuous-flow MFCs would rely on a mains powered pump to circulate the urine over the microbial fuel cells, but this experiment relied solely on human activity, the researchers added.
The research team also noticed that the wearable MFC system successfully ran a wireless transmission board, which was able to send a message every two minutes to the PC-controlled receiver module.
The researchers are of view that this technology could eventually help power houses and buildings in the days ahead.
(Image: UWE Bristol)